A late goal from the Republic of Ireland meant England had to settle for a 3-3 draw in Loughborough.
England 3-3 Republic of Ireland
The FA Futsal Four Nations Tournament
Sir David Wallace Building, Loughborough University
19 December 2008
England were held to a draw by the Republic of Ireland on Friday evening in what was a thrilling opening game for the Three Lions at Loughborough University.
Peter Sturgess' team had taken the lead twice only for the Irish to keep bouncing back level in what was a thoroughly entertaining game from start to finish for the crowd.
Rob Ursell put England in front during the first half with a deserved opener, only for Ireland to level up and then take the lead through two penalties by Dane Massey.
The visitors held the lead at half time, but England came out after the break to equalise thanks to Ursell's second of the game and then take a 3-2 lead through Luke Ballinger.
It looked as though England were set for another win, almost a year to the day since their historic first triumph against Greece last year, but with only four minutes left on the clock Ireland found an equaliser through Alan Lynch.
From there, either side could have won it as there were chances at both ends in the final few minutes with the crowd kept firmly on the edge of their seats but it just wasn't to be.
England will now hope to go one better on Saturday when they face Lithuania, who beat Libya by 2-1 in the day's earlier game.
The other games to be played on Friday went as follows:-
Lindsey School & Community Arts College 6-1 FC Enfield
Team United 0-1 Wellingborough Diamonds FC
Saturday 20 December
Republic of Ireland v Libya (2.30pm)
Leicestershire & Rutland v Northampton Futsal Club (4.30pm)
Leicestershire & Rutland v Brentford FC Community Sports Trust (5pm)
England v Lithuania (6pm)
Sunday 21 December
Republic of Ireland v Lithuania (12.30pm)
FC Barsa U14s v FC Barsa U13s (2.30pm)
Tibberton United v University of Teesside (3pm)
England v Libya (4pm)
Fans can watch all of the games, with tickets costing £5 for a three-day pass whilst all students and U16s go free.